Trescothick powers Somerset to final
Somerset 146 for 3 (Trescothick 56, Hildreth 36) beat Kent (Stevens 77) by seven wickets
It was always a fanciful notion that Marcus Trescothick would come out of international retirement to help England at their hour of need - or even be asked to - but his brutal innings of 56 off 32 balls just reinforced why he has been centre of attention over the last week. It was a display of power, timing and skill as he plundered the Kent attack around Edgbaston to set Somerset on track for a place in the Twenty20 Cup final.
As with Sussex earlier in the day, they are now assured of progression to the Champions League Twenty20 in October and there Trescothick faces another decision about travelling to the tournament. Touring was what he found impossible at the end of his international career, but before this semi-final he did talk of the excitement of the Indian event. "You'd have to ask him about that," dead-batted Justin Langer when asked about Trescothick's availability.
As with his four-day and 50-over batting, Trescothick is world-class at Twenty20. He warmed up for this match with 80 off 61 balls in the Pro40 (a game that wasn't far off a Twenty20 after some inept Gloucestershire batting) and continued in the same vein here.
Belying a slow pitch that made hitting through the line difficult, he took 16 off the opening over of the innings from Amjad Khan with four consecutive meaty boundaries. He launched a six over deep midwicket, but saved his best to reach fifty from 27 balls as he drove inside-out over extra cover. He'd been missed moments earlier on 47 when Azhar Mahmood spilled a return chance, but the stuffing had already been knocked out of Somerset.
Justin Langer contributed 17 in an opening stand worth 73 off 40 balls. He was out, getting a leading edge to cover off James Tredwell and the offspinner also removed Trescothick with an outside edge to backward point. However, such was the head start which Somerset had been given, that the remainder of the chase was a fairly simple process.
The dominance of Trescothick was highlighted after his dismissal, as boundaries became harder to find, but that wasn't a concern for Somerset. At any rate, Zander de Bruyn - the county's leading Twenty20 run-scorer of the season ahead of Trescothick - and James Hildreth found the rope when they needed to and the game was over long before the finish.
Kent had come into Finals Day billed as the most complete team on show, but Twenty20 again proved notoriously hard to predict. Joe Denly was bowled in the first over by Alfonso Thomas, who followed up by trapping Martin van Jaarsveld leg before with one that skidded on. That Thomas got his wickets by bowling straight should be no surprise - he was the hero in the quarter-final bowl-out against Lancashire.
When Geraint Jones fell to Charl Willoughby, Kent were 31 for 3 with the fielding restrictions almost gone and precious time was used up rebuilding. Robert Key couldn't find his timing - his struggle marked a contrast to Trescothick's subsequent skill - and used up 38 balls for 34. He was bowled in odd fashion, when the ball grazed off stump and required a referral to the third umpire.
Darren Stevens finally gave the innings some momentum during the final five overs, adding 52 off 30 balls with Justin Kemp, and passed 50 from 40 deliveries. Kent's effort was rounded off in positive style as the final over, bowled by left-arm spinner Arul Suppiah, went for 20, and with a strong attack 145 suggested a decent game. Then came Trescothick.
Andrew McGlashan is assistant editor of Cricinfo